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Earn Credit for Prior Learning

Capella University values the knowledge you bring to your degree program. Our Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) program allows you to earn credit when you demonstrate relevant, college-level knowledge gained through:

  • Formal and informal work training
  • Continuing education programs
  • Self-instruction
  • Professional certifications
  • Other learning experiences

Your enrollment counselor can help you determine how your prior learning can save you time and money on your degree. Email us, or call 866.808.8681 for more information.

+ How Prior Learning Assessments Work

To earn credit toward your degree from knowledge you've already learned on the job, you'll need to demonstrate your mastery of specific Capella course competencies through our Prior Learning Assessment petition process. In it, you'll describe how you've previously mastered the concepts of a specific course and how you applied that knowledge.

A Capella faculty expert will then review the completed petition to determine if credit should be awarded. Rest assured, Capella's Prior Learning Assessment lab will take you step-by-step through the development of your petition.

Keep in mind, your enrollment counselor is a valuable resource as you consider your options and eligibility for Capella's Prior Learning Assessment.

Capella University delivered as promised. The university's commitment of excellence to its learners was exemplified in the Prior Learning Assessment process from beginning to end.

- Michael

+ Programs Eligible for Prior Learning Assessments



  • Business
  • Criminal Justice
  • General Education (select courses)
  • Health Care Administration
  • Information Technology
  • Nursing
  • Psychology


  • Business
  • Information Technology
  • Nonprofit Management and Leadership
  • Public Administration
  • Human Services
  • Nursing
  • Health Administration


+ Potential Time and Money Savings

The Prior Learning Assessment process requires effort, but the long-term payoffs can be substantial. Capella students who earn credit through the PLA process graduate 1 to 4 quarters earlier and with half the debt of other alumni.

How much could you save by taking a Prior Learning Assessment?

Let's say you're well into your career, and you've already earned a certification recognized by Capella, such as your CCNA. You decide to enroll in a bachelor’s program at Capella. By going through the documented credit process, you earn 12 quarter credits for the knowledge demonstrated by your certification. Next — based on the knowledge and experience you've gained during your career — you decide to submit two petitions demonstrating your mastery of the competencies for two courses in your program. The petitions are reviewed by faculty experts and approved, resulting in 12 additional credits. These 24 total credits would save you approximately $7,800 and move your graduation date up by about one year.

+ PLA Eligibility

PLA is available when the following criteria are met:

  • You are currently enrolled in a program at Capella.
  • You have completed your first course (not always applicable: your enrollment counselor can help clarify this)
  • Both the course and the program you wish to apply PLA credit toward are eligible for PLA and aligned with the requirements of your program.

Your enrollment counselor can help you determine if you are eligible for our Prior Learning Assessment. Email us, or call 1.866.679.9682 to learn more.

View Capella's Prior Learning Assessment policy.

Fees for Prior Learning Assessment

Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) fees are charged to evaluate and award academic credit for the knowledge you've demonstrated. Reference the tuition and fees page in the Capella course catalog for current PLA assessment fees. Residents of Washington may receive credit through our prior learning assessment only in the bachelor's and MBA programs.